The MataBlog is edited by Matador Records’ co-moaner Gerard Cosloy and individual entries are the work of whoever’s name is next to them. If you enjoyed something in the MataBlog, thank you very much! If there was something you found particularly troubling, please be advised that a) maybe you should read it again and b) the contents of this blog do not necessarily represent the opinions of Matador Records, Beggars Group, the combined staff of either company, nor the Matador artist roster. Opinions are like friends — hardly anyone has one worth listening to.

Taxpayers Oughta Know - How Much Of Our Defense Budget Is Spent On Dry Ice?

Much as I hate to poke fun at the brave men and women who constitute our nation's armed forces, Max Impact --- a self-described combination of "today's hip-hop, pop and urban sounds-and everything in between" --- might be the first entry in a genre I like to call, "Bands That Can Form The Basis For A Future Earles & Jensen Phone Call".   From the M.I. bio  (link swiped from Wired)

Max Impact answers the call to motivate and inspire the newest generation of professional Airmen. To achieve maximum results Max Impact stays on the leading edge of the ever-changing pop music scene while projecting the highest standards of Air Force professionalism. Optimal delivery is the name of Max Impact's game when it comes to serving its audience. With innovative style and boundless energy, Max Impact commands the stage encouraging every Airman to embrace the spirit and join the fun. 

Jay Reatard on the Interface

photo by Fredy Perojo

Watch Jay play 3 songs (including See/Saw) on the Spinner Interface. Just went live today.

Matador Singles '08 is in stores tomorrow.

Fucked Up at SUNY Purchase last night

Fucked Up came down to NYC to play the Culture Shock festival at SUNY Purchase this Saturday, so I rented a car, grabbed Dean Bein, and drove on up. Purchase is about 25 minutes north of the city, right on the border with Connecticut.

This was a really weird event. Turns out it was restricted to SUNY students. Security was over the top. Huge, huge luxurious campus in really wealthy area, and state troopers with flashing lights parked at the entrance where you drive in. Everyone was pulled over by troopers, and drive and all passengers had to show IDs. Since we weren't students or visiting one, they wanted to turn us away, but I said I was acqainted with one of the bands... "Who..." "Umm, well, they're actually called Fucked Up." Guy looks pissed for a sec then says, "Man, that's fucked up!" Very funny. Takes my ID and Dean's and fortunately I had an old biz card, had me pull over to the right for like 10 minutes, made various phone calls, and then admitted us.

So we drive through this huge campus and the "festival" is just at end of parking lot.... pretty big stage, maybe, what, 300-400 people, max? All college students, SUPER hippie jamband bummer vibe, frisbees, some SERIOUS hackysack, tons of vegan food, Mr. Easy (some horrible pop/dub/reggae vibe) onstage, people dancing solo under the trees, at least it was sunny. Huge hookah at one corner and kids were smoking apple-scented tobacco. FU were there hanging out in their van, like, "how the fuck did we end up driving down from Toronto for this shit!?!"

Police and campus security are EVERYWHERE... it was such a joke, these lame-ass unthreatening college kids (I found out that Purchase is SUNY's art/creative campus, never realized that), not a hint or threat of trouble, but blue wooden police sawhorse barricades all around the stage. Saw my friend Babyleg with Gang Gang Dance, who were going on after Mr. Easy at 7 PM, then FU at 8 PM...

Only alcohol was $2 buds in a massive tent and you had to consume it in the tent... more ID checking, more state troopers in crisp Mountie hats, buy ticket, get beer, drink it next to these bozo shirtless frat guys with awful tank-top sunburns.

So far so good, I grab a beer, sun's just gone down, beautiful evening, hear the mighty triple guitar roar, come back to the front, the audience has now been infiltrated with some FU fans, the vibe at least in front has definitely improved, and the pit gets going - and I mean SERIOUSLY going, before the band has played a note. Just whirling, mid-'90s East Coast hardcore dancing, you know, like the "Battling with invisible ninjas" style?

So the band launches into "Baiting The Public," and it's total mayhem. Not quite the contained little-kid style circle-jerk style I saw when the band played outside in Austin las month, a bit more chaotic than that, bunch of the kids are def. fucked up or stoned or just high on a piece of actual excitement at this shitty two-bit "festival". Damian is shirtless of course, pants falling down, cops are on stage and in front of the stage, and Damian wants to interact with the crowd, so he comes down for the second song which is, of course, "Police", and the cops do NOT want the barrier breached. It was those blue wooden sawhorses, like big deal, and the pit, while totally wild, is not out of control and doesn't contain that many people either.

So Damian knocks down the wooden barricades so that he's not separated from the audience, and the band plays "Manqueller Man." I notice suddenly that the sound is thinner, not as mighty, the guitars esp, even though it still looks and sounds amazing... and then I realize the PA's been turned off, and we're only hearing live sound from the amp. Seconds later all power is cut, Damain shrugs and smiles to the audience, what can we do? and they're walking offstage... crowd is chanting "BULL-SHIT BULL SHIT BULL SHIT" over and over, I go to the side of the stage and find out that the cops demanded that the sound guy cut the PA and then pulled the plug.

Just like Negative FX opening for Burma's last show... aside from the weird lame environment. Total deja vu, late '70s early '80s hardcore versus the authorities. "This fucking city's... run by pigs... they take the rights away... from all the kids.... we're just fighting, fighting a war, we can't win, NO WAY." Except NFX would probably have been happy if there'd actually been chance of people getting hurt, which there definitely was not in this case.

So I head to the bathroom, I see Damian is talking to a state police officer, I hear him say, "I don't mean to disrespect your job sir," being all reasonable and Canadian as he is in real life... when I get back to the bathroom, the band is packing up. Damian tells me the guy is a sergeant in the state police, and told the band to get off the campus immediately or they would be arrested for incitement to riot. According to the cops, the other big mistake on Damian's part was to turn over those wooden sawhorses... he told the police that he thought they were there to protect *him* from the audience, not the other way around, so that it would be OK to remove them. The cop replied (and I am not making this up) that when Damian tipped them over, "you could have squished some kids to death" - that's the actual phrase he used.

Paradoxically, the police were simultaneously blaming the band for inciting the kids to riot and for attempting to injure them... are the authorities scared of the kids or overprotective of them? Typical conflicted societal attitude toward youth these days.

So at 9:30 PM the band were hastily packing up, they were all heading straight back to TO (maybe overnighting in Albany maybe not)... I told Mike I was sorry this had happened in our state and that they had driven all the way down from Toronto for this. So I ended up driving with friends back down to the city, and that was it... Fucking peculiar all the way through...

other bands on the Culture Shock festival included Cassidy, Jadakiss, Deerhoof, JD from Le Tigre and others of greater or lesser stature

DeRogatis : G.I. Joe Sucks Even Worse Than "Juno"

Despite the snazzy Thurston Moore design, I've neglected to pick up my SXSW goody bag. No offense to the organizers or their lovely sponsors, but I've got enough stacks of CD's I'm never gonna listen in my house already, thanks. But enough about my weekly care packages from 304 Hudson St. (hey, JUST KIDDING), the Chicago Sun-Times' Diablo Cody-baiting Jim DeRogatis (who kindly, though incorrectly ID'd me as the guy who signed Naked Raygun --- please, some long overdue credit for Sam Berger) reveals a rather peculiar inclusion in the 2008 bag o' swag :

The most notable thing about this year’s bag, in addition to its skimpiness, is a green plastic toy soldier of the classic “kids’ army guys” variety, except this one is holding a guitar instead of a rifle, and he’s twisty-tied to a color card that identifies him as “Sgt. Solo,” brave representative of Armed Forces Entertainment. (Why they didn’t just go with “Sgt. Rock,” I’ll never know; maybe there were copyright issues.)

The blurb at the bottom of the card reads: “Plug in your weapon, turn up the power and fire away. Your limo is a Humvee and your ride is a Blackhawk. For over 50 years, America’s stars have earned their stripes by performing for our country’s greatest audience. Find out if you have what it takes to tour the world entertaining the troops with Armed Forces Entertainment.”

Yes, you read right: These are your tax dollars hard at work in a promotional effort to recruit rock bands to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan to entertain our troops. Mind you, if anyone deserves free entertainment, it’s the brave men and women making incredible sacrifices for their country overseas. But really, wouldn’t they be better served by the government spending that money on better benefits and health care, more useful gifts for a theater of war (like adequate armor on those Humvees) or, heaven knows, upping the diplomatic efforts to end these conflicts?

These are things worth mulling while visiting the group's Web site, which features an even more bizarre piece of promotional artwork via the illustration of a doctored Sherman tank -- the kind that won the “good war” of WWII -- with an acoustic guitar replacing the turret and gun barrel and a swirl of paisleys beneath the treads, all under the banner “SXSW Music.”

In Praise Of Noel Gallagher

He might be the brains behind one of the dullest bands on Planet Earth, but every now and then, Noel Gallagher knocks it out of the park, at least in the sound-bite sweepstakes.  From Wednesday's Mirror :

Noel Gallagher (above) was yesterday branded "ignorant" after he told British soldiers wounded in Iraq to stop moaning.

The Oasis songwriter, 39, said Tony Blair's decision to go to war was an "almighty cock-up".

But he blasted troops who claim compensation.

He said: "The troops want to go, all they want to do is fight. If you're bothered about getting shot don't join the Army."

Veterans representative Ray Bristow said Gallagher only had the freedom to comment thanks to the sacrifice of others.

Mr Bristow said: "I think he's an ignorant man, ignorant in the sense of not understanding."

Pte Lionel O'Connor, who lost his leg in Iraq, said: "If he has got a comment like that, send him out there."

Yeah, but....he doesn't want to go there. That's the whole point. Noel would prefer not to be shot, hence, his reluctance to join the Army and GET SHOT.

As for whether or not the deluded brave forces fighting in Iraq are protecting Gallagher's right to free expression, I'd throw the question back at anyone in the military.  Never mind whether or not the war was justified, whether or not we're making a bad situation worse and let's just avoid the question of Western biz interests being the biggest beneficiaries.  Let's presume that G.I. Schmoe is being asked to risk life and limb so Noel Gallagher can record crap like 'Heathen Chemistry'.

I submit that's too high a price to pay.

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